Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire,” currently No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and featured prominently in a current American Express commercial, is now the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed last week in California federal court.
The plaintiff is Earl Shuman, an accomplished songwriter who in 1962 co-authored the composition, “Lonely Boy,” a song that reached No. 2 on Billboard’s chart in 1970 after being recorded by Eddie Holman as “Hey There Lonely Girl.”
Shuman believes there’s a similarity between Keys’ song and his “Lonely Boy/Girl.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “his lawsuit is rather bereft of important details, substituting an entertainment blogger’s ear in lieu of any demonstration of substantial similarity.
That’s not to say there won’t be people out there who won’t compare the two songs (here and here) and spot a likeness, particularly in the way that Keys intones three notes while singing the words “lonely girl.”
One of the people who noted a supposed similarity was Roger Friedman at Showbiz411, who wrote in late November of what he believed to be an uncredited sample. “In the middle of the song, Alicia sings a couplet or so from Eddie Holman’s 1970 classic ‘Hey There Lonely Girl,’” he wrote. “The song was written by Leon Carr and Earl Shuman, who are both gone to rock ‘n’ roll heaven.”
After Friedman’s post went up, Shuman apparently contacted the writer to note that he is still alive. Friedman responded by acknowledging this, questioning why Keys hadn’t cleared rights, and to say that Shuman had a “good lawyer” on the case.
A lawsuit was indeed filed, and — surprise — the complaint quotes a substantial portion of Friedman’s original post, including a sentence that appears to have now been removed: “Keys only uses two seconds of the original, but it helps makes her record,” he wrote.
If true, one would think that Shuman’s assumed good lawyer would have no problem spelling out the alleged infringement.
Instead, in Shuman’s lawsuit against Keys, Sony Music Entertainment and others, the plaintiff points to Friedman’s blog, saying, “While the Showbiz411.com statements that Shuman has ‘gone to rock and roll heaven’ and concerning ‘two seconds’ of use are not accurate, Plaintiff alleges that the above observations by Showbiz411, in their essence, are apt.”
Shuman’s lawyer, Philip Kaplan of Los Angeles, attaches a copy of his client’s songsheet but hardly goes into any discussion of Keys’ song except to spend a few graphs on its international success and the allegation that it includes a drum sample from another song.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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